An Analysis of the 270 vs. 308 Caliber

Debates making comparisons between the 270 vs. .308 often comes up. Which one between the two is the best? This is truly an excellent question indeed. It is worth noting that both calibers have got their loyal class of shooters. Some hunters are very loyal to their cartridge and won’t change no matter what. On the other side, some hunters are quite liberal, having no problem to try out something new. They would also prefer caliber A for some hunts and caliber B for some other hunts.

If you already have a 270 caliber rifle or the vice versa, I believe you understand that you can’t easily just change to a different caliber type as your gun barrel is caliber specific. You may want to buy a new gun. Similarly, if you are already shopping for a weapon and the 270 vs. .308 subject is still lingering in your mind, this article can help you a great deal.

>> The Vital Aspects You Should Know About 7.62x39 Vs. 308
>> Comparison between the 6.5 Creedmoor vs.308 Winchester
>> An In-Depth Discussion Of The 243 Vs. 308 Calibers
>> The.300 blackout vs. 308 Analysis

Comparison Chart







Bullet diameter

.277 in (7.0 mm)

0.308 in (7.8 mm)

Parent case

.30-03 Springfield

.300 Savage

Neck diameter

.308 in (7.8 mm)

0.3433 in (8.72 mm)

Shoulder diameter

.441 in (11.2 mm)

0.4539 in (11.53 mm)

Base diameter

.470 in (11.9 mm)

0.4709 in (11.96 mm)

Rim diameter

.473 in (12.0 mm)

0.4728 in (12.01 mm)

Case length

2.540 in (64.5 mm)

2.015 (51.18 mm)

Overall length

3.340 in (84.8 mm)

2.800 (71.12 mm)

Case capacity

67 gr H2O (4.3 cm3)

56 gr H2O (3.6 cm3)

Rifling twist

1 in 10 in (250 mm)

1 in 12 in (305 mm)

Maximum pressure

65,000 psi (450 MPa)

62,000.0 psi (427.475 MPa)

A Brief History

The .308 caliber was designed for the AR-15 platform, and is a civilian version of its 7.62 NATO caliber brother, which originally was developed for the M14 platform used in the Vietnam War. The M14 was sooner than later replaced with the 5.56 cartridges. The replacement was due to the unwieldiness of the M14’s and the amount of ammo that would be carried by it. It is after the replacement of the 7.62 by the military that manufacturers decided to design a .308 as the predecessor had so many useful features that couldn’t just be allowed to go.

270 Winchester

270 Winchester

The .308 cartridge comes with an overall 2.8-inch length and a .47-inch base diameter. Such reasons make it be categorized under the short action calibers. Today, there are some .308 caliber brands such as the Federal Premium, the Nosler Ballistic Tip, the Black Hills, the Remington Core-Lokt and the Winchester Super-X Power Point. These are found within the 125 to 180-grain range, with some few going beyond these limits.

308 Winchester

308 Winchester

On the other hand, whereas the .308 has a military origin, its .270’s origin is hunting. The cartridge, which was produced by the famous gun accessory company Winchester Repeating Arms Company, has been in existence since 1925. It is because of the original designer company that you will commonly see this caliber being denoted as .270 Win.

The above mentioned caliber is a “necked down” 30-06 cartridge version. In other words, it comes with a cartridge size that almost resembles the 30-06 though the bullet size’s diameter is much smaller. The .270 cartridge is about 3.3-inches long with the length always fluctuating depending on the design of the bullet. 0.47-inches is its base diameter. Some of the most common .270 calibers are the Federal Premium, the PPU, the Remington Core-Lokt, Hornady and the Winchester Super-X Power Point. These are found within the 130 and 150 grain limits, with a few cartridges being a bit lighter.


The best way of comparing the ballistics of two different calibers is by going for cartridges produced by the same manufacturer, and if possible, uses corresponding firearms, also from the same manufacturer. And to know that values are prone to change from manufacturer to another, it will only be accurate to repeat your tests with different manufacturers.

270 Vs 308 Vs 30 06 Ballistics Chart

270 Vs 308 Vs 30 06 Ballistics Chart

On average, the .308 are heavier than their .270 counterparts. It is however worth noting that other manufacturers do produce .270’s that go up to 180 grains in weight. But the best and most reliable cartridges, from the most trusted manufacturers are always lighter when compared to their corresponding .308 counterparts. This implies that each of these calibers have got different short and long range trajectories, they come with different muzzle velocities and feature different bullet energies.

In terms of the bullet energy, both cartridges have the required power of stopping almost any game you are trying to bring down. They are capable of delivering over 1000 pounds pressure even at the 400-yard mark. However, if you are taking longer range shots at over 400 yards, you may want to go for the .308 if you will want to stop a bear or other bigger animals. The stopping power of the 270 at such distances is quite low.

This doesn’t, however, mean that the .308 is an outright winner in the 270 vs. 308 caliber discussion. Remember that when you are in need of slightly more distances, then the .270 has a cutting edge. This is because of its higher velocity together with its flatter trajectory thus making it slightly easier to adjust for long range shots.

And for obvious reasons, the .308, especially the 180-grain caliber will give you the maximum stopping power as opposed to the 150 grain .270 calibers.

If you are therefore going to the bigger game that is within the 300-yard mark, the 308 calibers would be ideal. On the other hand, when you are targeting the medium size and small animals beyond the 600-yard mark, the 207 caliber is recommendable, a win-win situation.

The Recoil

This is one of the most important subjects that gun shooters consider. The subject comes into play the most when young shooters and beginners are being considered.

In general, the .308 caliber guns are credited for having a less sharp kick than that produced by the .270 guns. Even still within the 308 category, it is advisable that beginners go for the lightest caliber possible as the 180 grain heavy bullet will come with a high muzzle velocity that makes you feel the recoil as well.

The good thing is that neither the 270 nor the 308 comes with so high recoils that will fly the gun out of your hands. With just some little practice and experience, any shooter is capable of becoming well accustomed with the recoil that comes with both.


If at all you are located in countries with less penetrable areas, then you should consider the .308 caliber instead of the 270 version. This is because the 308 caliber is in almost all the bullet shops and gun accessory stores you will set your foot in similarly, the chances that you will be offered numerous caliber options within the 308 platform are very high. On the contra wise, there is reduced chance that you can get the caliber option you want within the 270 platform. Only a few bullet designs and types can be available for you to choose from in many shops.

In the USA, most of the ammo manufacturers produce more of the 308 vs. 270 calibers. Your bet will never go wrong that the 308 bullets will never run out of stock.

In a Nutshell

There is no outright winner when it comes to the 270 vs. 308 discussions. This is due to the obvious reasons that what 308 does well, the 270 doesn’t and the vice versa is also true.

If you are considering longer range shooting beyond 400 yards, the 270 bullet becomes your preferred choice. This is due to the fact that it has a lesser weight thus travels faster and longer, as well as due to its ability to maintain a relatively flatter trajectory. Your chances of bringing down the game at long ranges are higher when you have the 270 than when you are working with the 308.

On the other hand, if you are looking for something that will bring down that large bear that has charged towards you, then it would only make sense if you have the 180 grain 308 caliber. All in all, it is worth noting that most of the hunters are more loyal to the 308 vs. 270 calibers.


The discussion above is not to abdicate one caliber over the other but to enable you to be able to make comparisons and contrasts. It is only fair that when you are making your decisions to buy a gun, or to go out shooting, having an informed mind gives you more confidence to go along with your hunting errands. Though these calibers are a bit different from each other, different classes of hunters have different trusts and loyalties for specific calibers and you can’t get them out of such. This is a clear indication that no matter how much you may advocate for the 308, the 207 has its pros and that is why it has a loyal following.

2 thoughts on “An Analysis of the 270 vs. 308 Caliber”

  1. No appreciable difference between the two. If you were blindfolded you would be hard pressed to tell the difference…….it’s and advertising trick to get you to switch to one or the other.

  2. I fall into the 308 camp, but have rifles chambered in both. My preference is for 308 given it’s availability and wide selection of off the shelf ammo and custom loads. Most of my hunting ranges are within 300 meters / yards where the 308 shines. If and when I need to reach out, it’s most likely not a hunting scenario and other calibers are raining supreme in that game.

    I’m not recoil shy, but I don’t like it either for a day on the range, and in general snappy recoil is not welcomed.


Leave a Comment